Aimee Mann of the '80s: You're My Dream Girl

Categories: Boy Crazy

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Today, as I walked through a grocery store deep in the forsaken guts of suburbia, 'Til Tuesday's sole major hit, "Voices Carry," gently wafted down from the speakers dangling off of the exposed girders overhead. A nearly forgotten jam from yesteryear that most listeners gloss over with ease in such context, a brief moment in a playlist intended to pacify the minds of the masses scouring box stores for necessities and diversions. A track most likely thrown in the queue for the sake of nostalgia and a digestibility that won't ruffle the feathers of any particular age group with its dreamy, innocuous textures.


Perhaps it was the depression that comes with the summer rains that have spitefully returned at least a month ahead of schedule to ruin afternoons in perpetuity. Maybe it was the way the song's cascading synth line permeated through the store with the novel sounds of a future past. Maybe it was the palpable desperation in Aimee Mann's vocals mirroring the desperation that plagued a nearby woman's face as she compared nutrition facts between assorted boxes of Kashi cereal.

Whatever the case, the song struck hard, and the moment was a singular halting of time, a halting of time that granted me the clarity to realize that I am in love with the '80s iteration of Aimee Mann.

Not that Aimee Mann is anything but completely lovely at present: She's aged into her solo career with an uncanny measuring of grace, her new band with Ted Leo seems cool, and all the recent music videos (and that Portlandia appearance) have been superfunny.

But there is so much to be said for the romantic angst present in the voice of the woman who once carried those synth-laced ballads and driving new-wave rockers. A bass-thumping replicant with a shock of platinum hair and a lone Jedi braid, she looked as if she could've been retired by Deckard's gun at any moment -- there was always a touch of mystery hidden behind a coy smile.

While the current crop of revivalist hipsters are busy obsessing over Siouxsie Sioux's eye makeup and blog-crashers like Future Islands and Blood Orange are upping the cost of derelict Roland products on eBay, there really should be more fanfare for the completely underrated greatness and beauty that Aimee Mann and 'Til Tuesday contributed to the '80s. After your fourth time through this live video for "Voices Carry" filmed in '85, we know you'll agree.

We get that you're in a different place now, Aimee. You train with Freddy Roach for fun, and you've blossomed into one of the most respected songwriters of your ilk. But just know, we're pining away for the Aimee of yesterday, and while we wait for time travel to afford us an opportunity to woo you on the proper, we can at least hope that fashion trends continue to synch with music trends and millennials might (finally) start biting your old look.

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3 comments
ThePerfectionist
ThePerfectionist

"...she looked as if she could've been retired by Decker's gun at any moment..."

This is a great line and I completely agree with the sentiment, but in the interest of accuracy, the character's name is Rick Deckard, not Decker.

kennethicharbonneau
kennethicharbonneau


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geoffl1
geoffl1

When The Both played Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, they actually sang "Voices Carry"!!! I've followed Aimee for 20 years and she'd always previously said she'd gotten sick of the song and didn't want to perform it, even as a specific audience request. There are still a lot of dates left on the tour, so check out her website and if you catch a show, you may get to hear her do it one more time.

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